The photo is of a real Crow Indian in 1876.
Two Crows is a Blackfeet Indian living in northern Montana in 1876. Captured by the Crow Indians as a child, he was traded to the US Calvary. By the time he was thirty-two years old, Two Crows was the lead scout for General George Armstrong Custer. In a dream he foresaw the deaths at the Battle of Little Big Horn. After unsuccessfully trying to warn Custer, he ran for his life. Back at his original Blackfeet village he reunites with his wife White Feather, and becomes the protege of the shaman medicine man Grandfather Wolf Eyes. The three of them are remote viewing their parallel lives in present time. Grandfather is also Clarence Two Moons in the Blackfeet Murder.
This book is ready to be published
The is the second book in the Lucky Two Crows Mystery Series:
The Blackfeet Murder is now available to purchase at Amazon Kindle
Blackfeet village – Montana 1876
Grandfather Wolf Eyes is sitting in front of the red ember glow of his tipi fire, awakened from an impossible dream.
He had gone to another time, he believed to be many years in the future. In this place he wears the clothing of the white man. There are no horns, feathers or beads dangling down his chest, only a tiny black raven on a white string, contrasting to his white shirt. Here, wherever here is, he’s also Blackfeet and lives in the biggest lodge he has ever seen. He speaks the white tongue, oddly enough, since he has never met a white man. He can understand his words. You must help your godson. You must save him, so he can save his future self.
Grandfather throws scrub oak branches into his fire, and looks up through the tipi flap, into the starry Montana sky. I do not understand this dream. I have only one godson, Two Crows, he thinks, then speaks out loud to the fire, “I have not seen him in five years, since he came for a brief time to marry White Feather. Save him? How can I save him when I have no idea where he is now?”
The fire does not answer.
Grandfather can’t sleep. He keeps thinking about his dream. He throws sage, sweet grass and devil’s weed into the flames, chanting a prayer and then asks for his brother hawk to come; to answer his questions.
Hawk suddenly appears before him, shaking his lovely brown feathers, as if he has just landed after a long flight. How may I help you, Wolf Eyes? Hawks speaks without words.
I had a vision of a time far in the future. A voice, my future voice, said that I must save my grandson Two Crows, so he can save his future self.
Aho. Yes, I have seen your dream. Your grandson is on his way, as we speak.
He’s coming here? Why?
It is time for this story to begin. Are you ready to hear it, live it?
I guess, Grandfather answers. Tell me more.
Your godson Two Crows has been a warrior scout for the white soldiers. He is a man of many dreams that confuse him. One dream caused him to leave the white man’s fort, with two white soldiers following. They shot him in his back and left him to die a slow death. But he did not want to die; he wanted to return to his people. I have been guiding him to your village. He is weak, but still be riding, while he is dying, Hawk begins.
Dying? What can I do? Grandfather pleads to the messenger from the spirit world.
Heal him. Prepare for his arrival. Have water and healing herbs ready, someone to watch over him. He will not survive long without your medicine.
What medicine? A dying man with a bullet in his back is a lost cause.
Not for you. You and your women have the medicine he needs.
My women? Grandfather questions. You mean Sits-in-the-Sun, the woman who feeds me, and her daughter White Feather, Two Crows wife?
Why did the white soldiery want to kill my godson?
Your godson was walking a path not of his choosing. Nevertheless, he was the best Crow Indian scout for the long-hair white Chief named Custer. But the High Pony, the Seventh Path, was calling to him. This is what made his dream confusing.
I saw the High Pony in his eyes the day he was born. Grandfather reflects. Did he see something that caused him to finally leave this white man Custer?
He did, indeed, Hawk replies. In his dreamtime, he flew into the lodge of the great war chiefs as they talked about the upcoming battle in a valley, they call Big Horn. He foresaw his own death, and hundreds of white soldiers. The next morning, he tried to warn the long-haired white chief, but it only angered the man. The white chief Custer thought your godson was a traitor and ordered that he be shot dead. Two Crows also had this vision and did not want to die, so he left that morning. Two soldiers were then ordered to kill him, and nearly did.
A frog hops into the tipi, stops and looks up at Grandfather, sitting alone in front of the fire.
Life is a very strange mystery; the frog thinks to him.
The frog is right, Hawk says. It is indeed. Many things happen for reasons we may never fully understand. He was destined to return, whether there was a battle at Big Horn or not. He wanted to understand his dreaming, maybe end it, and knew only you could help.
I see. Grandfather thinks for a moment and then offers, I too dream of many confusing things.
Pay attention to these dreams. Ask to see more of what confuses you. Study your future time dreams, so you will understand what your grandson is seeing. Seek advice from other spirit totems if need be.
With that said, hawk disappears.
Grandfather contemplates the hawk’s message and asks for a clearer vision. He adds chaparral, and some of his best tobacco to the fire, after he has smoked some. He then settles on his buffalo blanket, closes his eyes, and asks for a vision of his godson on his horse coming home.
His dream goes to the open prairie, where he sees a warrior hunched over, his stomach on the horse’s back. It appears to be taking all the man’s willpower to keep riding. Wolf Eyes knows, the way seers know, that Two Crows, his godson, is this man, who will arrive this very night.
He goes to the tipi of Sits-in-the-Sun and asks her to be ready to help his godson, who has been shot and is near death. He has somehow survived after a few days on horseback with no food or water and a bullet in his back.
Sometime past midnight, Two Crows arrives at the village, just as Grandfather foresaw. He was smart enough to wear black moccasins, so he’d be recognized as a Blackfeet. Two night-guards carry him to the tipi of a recently deceased warrior. Sits-in-the-Sun’s daughter, White Feather, Two Crow’s wife, joins her. She is saddened to see her man near death, and gives him water, mashed yampa root to swallow and herbs for his cough and fever. The women remove the bullet and place poultices on the wound, and then White Feather spends the rest of the night by his side.
Grandfather, in his tipi, chants throughout the night, sending healing energy to his godson.
All the next day, the two women continue nursing the unconscious warrior. They drape wet cloth over his hot fevered body, smudging him with sage and other herbal smoke, and continually lift his head to make him drink. His fever rages as death doesn’t seem that very far away. White Feather wonders how he even found the village, while slumped over his horse, dying. It seemed nearly impossible, even for a perfectly healthy warrior. She prays for him to wake up. After five years apart, she had missed him dearly and they still have many things to talk about.
Grandfather goes to see his godson that afternoon. He watches as White Feather wipes the young warrior with a wet cloth, remembering how the two of them played together as children; They were best friends, until he disappeared, captured by the Crow. He returned for a brief time and they were bound in marriage. Now five years later, lying on his back, with his still muscular chest dripping with sweat, Grandfather knows his godson’s arrival is a dream come true for her.
She tells Grandfather that she knows he will recover; that he will soon be strong and healthy. She wants to know him as his normal self. “You are still young and strong, Two Crows. I have waited five long years for you, my husband,” she whispers in his ear.
Later, Grandfather Wolf Eyes tells the two women go get some sleep. He sits in front of the fire, looking over at Two Crows. He rattles his gourd, sprinkles sage and chaparral into the fire, closes his eyes and begins a low guttural chant: “Hiya . . . hiya . . . Hiya.”
He continues chanting his prayer to Napi, the Old Man,
“Oh, Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the silence, whose breath I breathe, you who give life to the world, help my godson to open his eyes so he can clearly see past the great illusion that separates life from death. Help him to allow the unknown to be known, the unseen to be seen, so he will understand the meanings of his visions.”
He waits for eyes to open, to confirm that his prayer has been heard. All remains the same.
An hour has passed when White Feather enters the tipi. She nods in respect to Grandfather, and then puts her hand on Two Crow’s forehead. His fever is still high; his body still drenched in sweat. She wipes him down and places a fresh wet cloth on his head, and then sits across from the old man. “Grandfather,” she quietly, tentatively speaks, broaching etiquette by disturbing his meditation. He raises his head, opens his eyes, and looks at her. She continues, “I am afraid his fever is too high.”
Wolf Eyes wastes no time selecting sprigs of sticky geranium, wild licorice, cottonwood bark, chokecherry, and alpine fir, which he throws into the almost dying fire. He closes his eyes and summons his raven guide, the guardian of healing magic. When her image fills his mind, he has his sign and smiles, knowing that his godson will recover. “He will soon be well,” he mutters. With that said, White Feather stands up, and without opening his eyes, he waves for her to leave.
The moment after she leaves, a raven flies through the flap of the tipi, and lands on Two Crow’s bare chest. No thoughts are exchanged for a long time. Finally, Raven looks at Grandfather and speaks, He will soon be with the woman who just left. They will have many children, and they will follow you on the Seventh Path.
This is good to know, Grandfather answers with a satisfied nod to the bird.
I see him, the same but another him, in a faraway future time, Raven unexpectedly continues. This other him will stand up for the native people and risk his life to save their way. A man named is Hawk, who wanted to kill him in this life, will try again in his future life. You must make sure this doesn’t happen.
I do not understand what you are saying. Wolf Eye’s responds.
What you do not understand today, you will understand in the days and months to come, Raven answers. You must accept your dreams as real and think differently.
I do not know how to think differently, but I do want to know my future self, so I can help my grandson know and understand his.
So be it, Raven answers. When the time is right, you will be guided to a place beyond time and space, where you will meet your future self.
With this said, Raven disappears.
Grandfather’s mind is torn between contemplating on the Raven’s confusing message, and his need to gather firewood.
Grandfather summons the two women and asks them to gather twigs and branches of scrub oak for the fire. As it leaps back to life, he hands his bundle of sacred herbs to White Feather and instructs her on how to use them. They then wait for Two Crow’s fever to subside.
Many bone beads, teeth and claws hang from Grandfather’s neck over his now hairless chest, which hints of a once muscular body. His deeply etched face is framed by four tails of nearly all-white braided hair. An eagle feather is wedged in his top crown bun, pointing to the great spirit father, Old Man. He begins a low guttural chant as White Feather pounds the herbs into powder, and then gently feeds her husband.
As the women put the poultice on his wound, and smudge healing smoke near the man’s nose, Grandfather continues praying for his swift recover, thoroughly assured that he will survive and follow him in the medicine way. He watches the scrub oak smoke as it lazily curls up from the slow burning fire, casting a dancing shadow on the yellow buffalo-skin wall, and then surrenders to his vision:
A healthy Two Crows ducks under the flap and stands erect. Sit, Godson, Grandfather commands. You have matured into a strong warrior. I am pleased.
Two Crows nods as he sits. Thank you, Godfather. It’s good to be back. Where is my wife?
She is here, but you cannot see her, and she cannot see you or hear us now.
Like his godfather, Two Crows is shirtless; a similar array of beads and bones cover his well-defined chest. He wears Army issued blue cotton pants, with a darker blue satin strip down each side, rolled up past his ankles; beaded black moccasins cover his feet. His long black hair drops like a waterfall over his brown muscular body. Tied to the top of his hair are two black crow feathers, symbolizing his totem and his name.
Tell me, why have you returned, Two Crows? the elder asks, knowing he’s still dreaming, though it seems real.
You know that I lived with the white man, the warrior begins, speaking almost apologetically. As you also know, the Crow killed my father and mother, and took me away while I was a young boy. Later I was traded to the white soldiers, maybe for a rifle. The soldiers taught me their warfare and have used me as a scout. I have in many ways betrayed my Blackfeet people for a warm bed and a full belly, for my forty-four Winchester, for posing as a Crow, our worst enemy. And yet, I have not forgotten my people and our ways. I regret leaving five years ago and for not returning sooner. Two Crows takes a moment to reflect, and then, as if turning a switch from outward to inward, his entire composure changes. I dream, Godfather. Always my dreams have been plenty. For the last many moons, they have disturbed me, more than any enemy I have encountered.
Grandfather takes time to contemplate these words. He opens his eyes and realizes that the two women are still in the tipi. They are now sitting by the fire and facing their elder. “His fever has come down,” White Feather says. “I trust he will be much better soon.” Grandfather smiles at her and nods, “You have done well. Take a break and come back later. I need more time alone to dream.” He closes his eyes when they leave.
As soon as the two women are gone, Two Crows continues, as if no time has passed between his last words. Most of my dreams are not of war and death. The ones that upset me are of another lifetime. They are of . . . a future time. This confuses me.
I see. Grandfather does see since he too is having confusing dreams.
I have visions that are, Two Crows pauses and pokes a branch into the fire, and watches the red sparks rise. Grandfather wonders if the red sparks are really rising, but keeps his eyes closed, difficult for me to speak about. You must believe that I do not drink the white man’s medicine. A few months ago, I started dreaming of a time when the white man had taken over the earth, a long time from now, in the future.
Hmmm, Grandfather grunts.
In my dreams, I can walk in this future like walk in this time. It’s as real as you and me, right now. He pauses, not realizing that he’s speaking in a dream. I am beginning to forget when my living ends, and my dreaming begins.
All of us have dreams, my godson. We are having a dream as we speak. We are two dreaming warriors. This is a medicine dream. Dreaming is a gift you are born with. I should have told you, when you were here before, that you were destined to ride the High Pony on the Seventh Path, the way of Looks-Within.
I needed to go back . . .he pauses, and then continues, don’t you see Godfather, my pony has been covered with war paint? I’m a warrior, not a medicine man. I don’t understand the Seventh Path, nor do I want to.
With this said, Grandfather opens his eyes, looks down, and sees that Two Crows has opened his, and then speaks without questioning that their dream is now their present reality. “You will, godson. On the day you were born, I knew you would come to me one day, like I went to my grandfather; to be the next in our family to learn the way of medicine.”
He studies the young warrior, who is now sitting up, stretching, and then says, “With the white soldiers, you learned things most medicine men would never learn, but it is of no use to speak of the rain of a season past. Now that you are here, I will teach you the Seventh Path. This is the only way you will understand your dreams.”
“I do not need to understand my dreams, Godfather. I only want them to go away. I did not want to come here with a bullet in me, with the fever. I have come to ask you to use your spirit medicine, the powerful medicine of our ancestors, to make my dreaming stop.”
“Maybe you should have taken the white man medicine, if you only want your dreams to stop.”
Two Crows stands up and stretches. He drinks water from a gourd and then pours the rest over his head. “You are right. I have seen what that poison does to our brothers. I watched some warriors go crazy, so I decided to never drink the white man medicine.” He puts on his Army issue blue pants. “I trust you. I trust your medicine, the medicine of the earth, the medicine of our people. These dreams are disturbing me. I want to live a normal life. Now you can tell me, was it my wife who smelled like the flowers in an open meadow?”
“Yes, it was White Feather. You will meet her later.”
“Is she still as beautiful as she smells.”
“More beautiful,” Grandfather answers with a smile.
They sit across from one another, in front of the fire. After some time in silence, Grandfather finally offers, “I have no medicine that will stop you from dreaming. It is something you were born with, waiting for the right time to guide you. You cannot run away from them. You have come for me to tell you this. This is my wisdom. You and I spoke in Dreamtime today. You have proven to me that you are already riding the High Pony.”
Two Crows stands, and then walks around in a circle like the wolf, gathering his strength. “You are comfortable riding your High Pony, Grandfather. I will call you Grandfather, okay?” The old man nods yes. “You must understand your life is very different than the one I’ve been living. Very different. I want to live the Blackfeet way as a warrior. That’s who I am. Not a dreamer.”
Grandfather huffs and decides to drop the subject for now. “I never told you. When you were born, I named you Two Moons,” he says, pointing to the place across from him, motioning for the young man to sit back down and relax.
“Two Moons?” he repeats, caught off guard by the change in subject. “You named me? But that’s not my name.”
“You were born at night under a full moon. When I went out of the tipi, I looked up at the moon. There was a white ring around it. I announced to your mother and grandmother, ‘This baby will be called Two Moons.’ But in the morning when your mother took you out to see your first light, there were two crows making noise on a branch, both looking right at you. That was her sign to change your name to Two Crows. I always preferred Two Moons. Give me some blood from your scalp,” Grandfather calmly asks.
Two Crows doesn’t question this simple command from his elder. He finds his knife near the bed and makes a cut just under his hairline, and then collects his blood on the blade. He hands the knife to Grandfather, who immediately licks the blade clean and hands it back. “I will go now. I will ask the Old Man for permission to dream a dream with you. I will honor the Old Man’s wish if we are to dream one dream together.”
“Dream one dream together?” Two Crows repeats.
“Indeed. I ask you to remember this . . . our dream will have a beginning, middle and an end. It will tell a story. In it you will live this night dream the same as you live your daydream. We will be walking the same walk . . .in our other bodies.”
“I don’t understand your words. How can a dream walk, and earth walk, be the same walk?”
“Because for you it is, Grandson,” he says with insistence. “The other Blackfeet warriors do not dream like you dream. Their dreams are only about stealing horses and making babies. Not about future times.”
“Why am I cursed with these dreams?”
“A medicine man’s dreams are not a curse. They are a blessing. Sooner or later, you will accept the medicine way.”
“As we share our dream, you will soon know the truth of my words. But first, you must accept that you are a warrior, and also a dreamer, also a medicine man like me and a husband with children on the way.”
Two Crows drinks more water, staring up to the apex of the tipi, and then grabs a bow and works his muscles. “Do you have buffalo meat?” Grandfather hands him a large piece of dried meat. The warrior looks up through the apex opening as he chews and thinks about his fate. “Maybe this is so,” he finally says. “Children?” He thinks some more before speaking, “It’s not easy for me to talk about my dreams.” He hesitates before continuing, “You are the only one I can talk to.” He tosses more wood into the fire. “Will you think me a crazy man if I speak of crazy things.”
Grandfather frowns, appearing as serious as he possibly can, shaking his head No.
Two Crows stares at the fire for nearly a minute before continuing. “Will you let me speak of metal birds and metal horses that carry people and painted boxes that sing strange songs?” When Grandfather nods, he continues, “Or of bigger boxes that talk and show visions as clear as you see me? Will you think I’m mad if I speak of a fort upon a fort upon a fort fifty lodges high, surrounded by more people than you could ever count? Will you believe me, Grandfather?”
“Yes. I will believe you, Grandson. What else have you seen?”
“I have seen lakes that have no distant shore, with floating metal boxes, filled with people.” Two Crows pauses and looks away, nervously poking a stick into the fire. He throws his hair onto his back, and then scans the tipi, again focusing on the point where the poles meet, before speaking, “If I call what I see by the names I am hearing, you will not know what these words mean. TV, airplane, car. Maybe it is better for you to be in my head, to see what I’m seeing, to hear the words I’m hearing, so you will know that I am not crazy.”
“Dreaming one dream. Yes. I already know that you are not crazy,” Grandfather says with a grin, suddenly realizing how difficult and uncomfortable this must be for Two Crows. “Visions always come with a purpose. They are not to be hidden in a gopher hole.”
The two men now stand facing each other. “I will be with you in your dreams,” the elder says. “Now go. Get some fresh air. Build your strength.”
Two Crows goes out for a long walk. The crisp night air tickles his skin. It’s good to move his body. Maybe I’ve sweated out all the white mans’ poisons, he thinks to himself. He feels a good as he did before he left the fort.
He returns an hour later with two smooth stones he had taken from the river. Grandfather is gone and his buffalo blankets had been changed. Lying down on them, it feels good to be on the earth, not on the white man’s cot. He’s glad to have had the talk with Grandfather; to no longer be alone with his dreams.
As he drifts into his dreaming, he asks for them to unfold as a story, for crow to fly his dreams into the mind of Grandfather. One dreamer. He places the stones under his head, hoping that his dream-walk and his earth-walk will be the same.
It isn’t long before he smoothly slides into a lucid dream. He’s standing in a small room, looking into a mirror. He’s seeing himself, an older version of himself, maybe ten years older. This man also has long hair and toned muscles. The man slips a shirt over his body. Two Crows can read the strange language written above and below a crow. Native Pride 2021.
The dreams continue . . .
It was just after dawn and their village was under attack. Little Two Crows held on to his real grandfather, as tightly as he could. If he were able to slip under the old man’s skin, he would. Or better yet, if they could both turn into birds and fly away at this very moment, they would. As it were, one was too young to fight, the other too old.
The old Blackfeet chief knew they were doomed. He had seen it in a dream only hours before. It was time. So, he began his death chant, adding another layer of noise to the screaming women, and the panting, grunting, and yelling of warriors as they killed, or were being killed.
“They will not kill the women and children,” he quietly said to his grandson after he ended his chant. “Slip out carefully. When the survivors gather, tell everyone to remember we are one family. The Blackfeet Nation is in your blood. Never forget that you are Blackfeet.”
“Will I see you again, Grandfather?”
“Not in this life. You must find your godfather Wolf Eyes, the medicine man. He will live as surely as I will die.”
After he spoke these words, two fierce-looking Crow warriors, faces smudged with a mixture of war-paint, sweat and blood, entered the tipi. Little Two Crows didn’t have time to slip out, and he didn’t cry when they slit his grandfather’s throat.
Startled by the howl of a wolf, Two Crows bolts up from this dream, or was it a nightmare? He throws his buffalo blanket aside and jumps up, grabs his rifle, and runs out into the night. He turns in every direction, ready to protect his grandfather from the enemy invasion. But everything is peaceful. Only the sounds of frogs and crickets break the silence. I was Blackfeet before I was Crow. I was never really Crow. I know this, but why did I have this dream? he thinks as he returns to his tipi.
He throws branches into his fire and watches it catch. His stomach growls. Now that he had regained his health, the hole in his stomach, after three days of very little food, needs to be filled. He finds a stash of smoked river trout, eats his fill, and then crosses the camp and enters Grandfather’s tipi.
The old man sits in front of his fire, in the exact position as hours before.
“You had a disturbing dream, grandson?”
“I did. I saw what happened when I was a child. I watched as the Crow killed my grandfather. They must have killed my parents at the same time. They made me one of them. Do you know this dream?”
“Is this what actually happened? Were you having this dream too?”
“Why is it that I could never remember that day?”
“Sometimes our minds forget the most terrible things from the past.”
“But you remember, and you weren’t even there. How is it that you came into my dream?” Two Crow asks.
“Must I explain to you who I am?”
“No, forgive me, Grandfather. I know your medicine is great. This is why I’m here. Does this dream have something to do with my future time dreams?”
“Dreams are teachings outside of time. Sometimes they clear the water so you can see the fish.”
“But who are the fish?”
“I think in this case, the Crow Nation. You must not hate them, grandson. What happens in the way of war between Nations has happened since the beginning of time. Each is protecting their hunting grounds, that’s all. No Nation is better than another.”
“But they took me from my people. Killed my father and grandfather, my mother.”
“In war between nations, some women, like your mother, die. It is never the intention to kill the women and children. It is better to take them, like stolen horses, to bring more wives and future warriors into the tribe. It has always been this way.”
“But they are Crow, the Blackfeet’s mortal enemy. How can you see good in this?”
“They are no worse than us. In the end, we are a mix; one band, one nation of many tribes. You must not forget this. But don’t tell the warriors I told you.”
Grandfather smiles at Two Crow’s look of surprise, and then picks up his pipe and lights it with a twig from the fire. After a huge inhale, he continues, “I am an old man with nothing better to do but watch your dreams. Go now. We will continue on the Seventh Path tomorrow.”
Two Crows walks out of Grandfather’s tipi and into the perfect night. Now secure under the umbrella of ancestors, he lets go of another layer of tension, still carried from his former life as a Crow army scout and breathes in the Montana sky. He reaches for the Dog Star, symbolically pulling it down and plants it at his feet. He is no longer a Crow. He’s now a Blackfeet, He’s home. All signs of impeding death are gone. He feels reborn. He wonders where his wife is. She must have been told to give him one more day to heal.
It’s quiet here; there are no shouts of drunken soldiers disturbing the lost hours. No cackles of roosters or baaa’s of corralled sheep. No trumpets at five in the morning to turn his dreams into the nightmare of another day of uninspired activity, of sitting waiting or chasing after his own kind.
Here, the Sky Father sighs in stillness, as his children safely sleep. Two Crows listens to the distant howl of a coyote and the last chirpings of the crickets. The earth blends with the heavens, reminding him of the way of the Blackfeet, which he never knew, having been gone nearly his whole life. He feels at peace.
He thinks about lying down on the ground, right there under the stars, to watch them twinkle until his eyes naturally close, his pillow the Mother Earth. He had spent countless nights under the stars as a Crow scout, but this is different. There he had to constantly be alert, to detect the difference between the sound of a coyote, and the mimic of an enemy. Here he doesn’t have to listen, he’s free; free to spend the night as he pleases, to be lulled to sleep by the seven whisperings.
He chooses the comfort of his tipi instead, and is soon wrapped in buffalo fur, hoping for an uninterrupted night’s sleep. Or the distraction of his wife.
But that isn’t to be. Again, he becomes the future Two Crows, the image of himself in a strange time and place. He opens a door to a box and gets in, sits in a seat in front of a small wagon wheel. He puts something in a little hole. There’s a noise and the box begins to move, like a horse galloping away. The box has clear windows, like the house of the white man general. There are many of these same, but different boxes everywhere, and somehow, he avoids hitting them as his eyes look ahead and his hands control this box, which quickly races on a hard road, through a fort that never ends.
The next thing he knows, the sun is moving into his tipi, and the laughter of children replace the sound of night. He stands up and stretches, excited about what his first day in the Blackfeet village will bring. White Feather.
After Two Crows had left that night, Grandfather continued sitting in front of his fire. He had fallen asleep, and then woke up after dreaming the same dream as his grandson.
He throws some aspen branches into the fire to offset the June night chill, and says a prayer to the Old Man, thanking him for healing his adopted grandson, and for his head to clear so he can understand these dreams.
The added warmth of the fire, the smell of aspen burning, the early morning stars shining down from above, assures him that everything is all right in his world. He lights his pipe and fills his lungs, then stares into the flames, remembering what he had seen in the dream. Nothing in this future time vision made sense.
His intuition that the dream isn’t a dream at all, that it’s real, only added to his confusion.
What he had seen increased his admiration for the young man. He wonders why it hadn’t driven the boy absolutely crazy. Two Crows said it wasn’t a continuing story, so he must have been seeing things in bits and pieces, which made sense, since each new thing took a tremendous amount of energy to comprehend.
Grandfather closes his eyes and again sees the box Two Crows had been dreaming about. It moves without a horse in front, over a smooth, hard road, in the middle of a fort that never ends. He has no idea what makes it move. He wonders where this fort is, and how people can sleep in a square room with wood walls, without a fire in the middle.
Grandfather has never left his Blackfeet village, or Blackfeet land for that matter. He’s now considered an old man, and has yet to meet a white man face to face. He also can’t imagine how life must have been for Two Crows, to have lived sixteen years in the white man culture.
As he relaxes his mind, aided by a different blend of tobacco, he’s able to slow the future picture down. He studies the square walls, the see-through windows, the tables and chairs. The room he’s in is as bright as if under the sun. He looks for a fire or or some candles, which are hard to come by, but doesn’t see any. What is it that makes light inside the white man’s fort? And what are those little metal boxes on the tables that also light up? Not one thing is familiar to him.
He opens his eyes again, fills his piped with more of the sacred weed, savors its sweet aroma, its power in his lungs, and thinks about how he much prefers where he is. As soon as he puts his pipe down and closes his eyes, visions begin spinning past: cars, boats, airplanes, TV’s and computers, cities with skyscrapers, restaurants and universities, people of all races, the world from space; thousands of modern images, all of which make absolutely no sense to him. Nevertheless, he’s being shown a panorama of the 21st century.
Then it slows down once more. He’s dressed in white clothing, white boots and a white hat, with a small black raven on a string, tied around the collar of his white shirt. Clarence. Clarence Two Moons. Two Moons. The name he originally gave to Two Crows. Why is he seeing this man in this far away time? What does he have to do with his grandson’s dreams? With his dreams.
I am here to share in your dreams, he hears the words. When you are ready you will accept me as part of yourself, and then you will know that we are one. They are speaking another language, the white man’s tongue, but he can understand and comprehend the words, even though they’re not spoken in his Blackfeet tongue.
Then the other Blackfeet Indian appears, the one who looks the same as Two Crows. Grandfather has no doubt that this is Two Crow’s future self. He considers the name, Lucky Two Crows. How can he be Two Crows now, and Two Crows in the future?
He focuses again on the room. Other people come into it. Future people who know this Lucky man. They sit in front of the small boxes that have light coming through them. He had heard stories of the white man’s thunder horse, the railroad train that was as loud as thunder. But these machines are silent, and have moving images on them. The light inside changes color, and they show many words, like the book he has in his small stash of treasures. He tries to listen to what the people are saying, but he can’t concentrate. He’s lost in the wonder of the world of his dream.
I’m inviting you into my world, Clarence says. Look carefully, pay attention, get to know what you see, for soon we will walk this road as one. There can be no separation.
He shakes his head and opens his eyes, stokes the fire again and looks at the walls of his tipi. The buffalo hide still has life, he feels the energy of the beast who sacrificed his life for Grandfather’s home. His walls are not like the walls in his dream. Those walls are dead. Except for the people and plants, nothing seems alive in this far-away future. He likes where he is better. What does this other me mean, there can be no separation?
He fills his pipe with more of the sacred tobacco, and smokes in silence for a long time, doing his best to stay in the here and now. This is surely where I belong, he thinks.
Although he has offered to help Two Crows, he now wishes he hadn’t. He still doesn’t know what any of this is all about. Maybe it will be better to change his mind. He throws some sage and chaparral into the fire and watches it crackle. With the sacred weed’s invitation, he begins sliding into the place where even more profound visions race by. This time he goes to where Clarence lives, in a huge lodge on the Missouri River. Sit-in-the-Sun flashes by, as does White Feather and Two Crows. They are there in this future time. His minds spins though the centuries to where all his ancestors are still alive. Hundreds of people he doesn’t recognize, but knows, race though his mind at lightning speed. Then it stops.
When he opens his eyes again, the man from his dream, Clarence, dressed in the strange clothing he had seen before, is sitting on a buffalo blanket across from him. “Who are you?” Grandfather asks, quite surprised.
The future him smiles. “You know who I am. You and I are of one soul, living in different times.”
Grandfather can understand these words, since the man is now speaking in his Blackfoot tongue. He answers, “I asked for my ancestors and my totems to help me to understand my grandson’s dreams. You’re neither an ancestor, nor my totem. Why are you here?”
“I am here because you called me. I am here because you want to understand your grandson’s future dreams. I am from this future time you both dream about.”
“I know there is no time in dream time, but I don’t understand. How can I be seeing and speaking with myself in a far away future time, and also be here? I know many things, but I do not know how you can be sitting here, and at this very same moment be sitting somewhere else. It is impossible,” the Blackfeet medicine man says in confusion, then asks, “You speak my tongue. Are you Blackfeet in my far future?”
Clarence laughs, “Yes, I am Blackfeet. This land is still our land. We still have a Blackfoot nation. You are alive here, and I am alive there. If there is no time in dream time, why can we not be here alive together?”
“I suppose. Seeing you is really not so different than seeing my animal totems. No one else see’s them, but I do. And talk to them. When did you first dream of me?”
“A long time ago,” Clarence chuckles. “Then again not so long ago, when I saw that everyone close to you in your time, is now close to me in my time. We all have the same ages. The two Two Crows have now entered the vision. As your Two Crows has came to you, I must now go to my Two Crows.”
“How?” Grandfather looks across his fire.
Clarence smiles. “Have you seen a metal flying bird in your dreams?”
“I think so, but I do not understand such a thing.” When Wolf Eyes looks across the fire, Clarence is no longer there, but he hears him speak.
“Close your eyes and now look through my eyes,” he says. “Do you see what I’m seeing?”
“I guess so. We are in a box, like the wagon without a horse. I had seen the future Two Crows moving through an endless fort in this box, one without all these many lights in front of me. What is it I’m seeing?”
“It’s called a cockpit. You are inside a metal flying bird. My flying bird. I am getting ready to make it fly.” Clarence says this as he flicks some switches. Grandfather hears a loud roar. He watches through Clarence’s eyes as the box moves, and then moves faster. Grandfather holds on to dear life and in no time the metal box is off the ground and flying like a bird in the sky. It’s dawn and sunlight is filling the horizon with rich fiery oranges and gold. As the plane reaches its altitude and flies level and straight, Grandfather looks down in awe. He can see farther than any Blackfeet man has ever seen before.
Grandfather keeps looking at the beautiful green earth below as the no-time hours pass. At one point he closes his eyes and sees Sits-in-the-Sun, White Feather and Two Crows in this future time. They then shift into Lucky Two Crows, Clarence’s daughter Summer, and Marie, their housekeeper.
“Did you dream of me while I was in the medicine circle with my totems?” Grandfather asks as Clarence re-enters his vision.
“It was not a dream. It was me being you.”
“But I didn’t see you, or feel you . . .”
“Because you and I had not yet traveled into the void, into the great unknown, through the Door of Everything.” Clarence in Grandfather’s vision stops and thinks about how to proceed. “Before you talked with your totems, when you first started seeing visions of Two Crows coming, I saw this too. I don’t know how. I called for the Old Man, told him what I saw, and asked for his advice. I asked if it was okay for me to enter your dream, which also meant that I would enter the dreams of Two Crows.”
“You pray to the Old Man in your modern time?”
“Of course I do. If I am you now, then I have always been you. I just didn’t realize you until you came into my dream time.”
“Do you sit in front of the fire, as I do?”
“Yes, I too have a tipi, not so very far from here, but in my time. I have a fire like your fire, in the middle.”
“What did the Old Man say to you about your dreaming?”
“One day, not so long ago, after you came into my dream time, I threw some dried sage, sweet grass, rosemary and nettle into my fire and breathed in the power of the medicine. This is what I said to him, ‘Oh Great Father, Old Man, hear me. Another part of who I am lives far in the past. He has come into my dreams. He wants to help his grandson who is dreaming his future self and is asking for his help. Please Old Man, tell me what to do. Should I go within the body and mind of this other me, to help the past me understand the dreams of his future?’”
“This is clear,” Grandfather says, “What did the Old Man say?”
“The Old Man said that I must listen to the advice of the coyote.”
“The Old Man said that?” Grandfather asks in surprise.
“Yes. I will continue my story,” Clarence says. “I was still sitting in front of my fire. I closed my eyes and when I opened them, coyote was sitting across from me.
‘Why have you called me here?’ Coyote asked.
‘I have a great puzzle to solve and you love puzzles,’ I answered.
‘What are you puzzled about?’
‘About being in two places at one time, of entering into the dreams of others. Do you know how to be in two places at the same time?’ I asked.
‘How do you know I’m not in two places at this moment? If you go into the valley you will see me howling at the full moon. Is that coyote not me?’ Coyote asked.
‘Maybe I will think it is you, when it is really another coyote. You all look alike,’ I answered.
‘That is what we think about you. But of course we don’t look alike. We don’t howl alike. We are all unique. And some of us know how to shape shift. Some of us know how to communicate with people like you. Some of us know how to be in two places at one time,’ Coyote said.
‘Is this what you can do , all three?’
‘Yes,’ the coyote answered as he shook his body and shifted into a raven. ‘Do you know that the raven can fly into the great unknown?’
“I told the coyote that I have no doubt the raven can fly into the unknown. ‘I just don’t know how I can be in two places at the same time, to dwell in the body of another me in another time far in the past, or he from the past. How can he come into the future me? What does the great unknown have to do with this?’
‘Everything.’ The raven pondered my predicament. ‘Do you want me to take you there?’
‘To the great unknown? I do. Can you?’
‘Are you ready?’
“When I said yes, the raven considered my big size, I guess, because she shifted into a huge eagle. One talon reached out and grabbed me by the waist, and gently dropped me on her back. Great wings reached out to the horizon and began flapping until she lifted from the earth and began to soar into the evening sky. I held on tightly as the eagle flew higher and higher toward the heavens. We flew and flew until we finally reached a dark hole, the entrance to the great unknown.”
‘I don’t know if I want to go in there,’ I said as I stared down into the vast nothingness. ‘I don’t know if I’m ready to leave this world. Is this where I go when I die?’
‘No,’ the eagle, who was once a coyote, and then a raven, answered. ‘This is where you go to enter into the Door of Everything. This is where you go to meet the other you.’
On the third day, after another full day recovering from his bullet wound, Two Crows walks out of his tipi to a Blackfeet village alive with morning activities.
Young and middle aged women, dressed in beaded deer-skin shirts and dresses, are lost in their daily chores; some are cooking meat, others drying fish or hauling wood to the fires, around which grandmothers, white haired with deeply creased faces, share their gossip. Bare-chested warriors, with deerskin leggings and black moccasins, sit by other fires, most likely planning their next raid, boasting of their skills. Elders, with long white braided hair, also bare-chested, huddle by their fires, all smoking tobacco, telling stories of conquests they each have heard a hundred times. Naked children scamper around helter-skelter, ignored by dogs digging in their endless search for bones. The fifty buffalo skin painted tipis connect earth to sky, their smoke drifting up from open apex flaps. Sunlight filters through the tall pines, the river glistens; trout jump high for a flying snack. It’s a beautiful sight, one he had never forgotten.
The village is nestled along the banks of the meandering Medicine River. Even though it’s June, the morning is still chilly; never-the-less, children are already playing in the water, laughing and splashing, without a care in the world. Two Crows wishes he could join them, remembering how happy he had been on mornings like this, so many years before. He missed the camaraderie, the security of the Blackfeet’s semi-nomadic warrior culture; the love of parents and uncles and aunts and Grandparents, the laughter of little boys and girls, his playmates. He thinks about his wife, White Feather, who he hasn’t seen since they were married five years ago. He pauses to wonder why he hasn’t seen her as he approaches a group of warriors.
This is when he hears a woman’s voice call out to him, “Hey! Husband. You’re looking much better. You looking for me?” He turns his head in the direction of the pretty young woman walking towards him.
“White Feather!” he exclaims, immediately feeling something primal calling out from the core of his being, also coming from the twinkle in her bright brown eyes, “My beautiful wife.”
“Did you feel my presence when I was there helping Grandfather and my mother heal your wound, and bring down your fever?”
“I did. I smelled you. You are more beautiful than I remember you to be.” They hug and stare deeply into each other’s eyes.
She blushes, happy to be with him again as they keep staring. “Everyone knew you were coming back. Your grandfather isn’t the only one who sees, you know?” she finally says.
“How would anyone know? I only decided to leave on the evening before my near death.”
“Black Beaver, our seer, has been watching you since you left me, five years ago. He reminded me you were still alive, busy being a great scout for the white soldiers. He saw the council of war chiefs, and the battle you did not die at. He said you made a wise decision.”
“Why was he watching me?”
“Because I asked him to. You are my husband, after all. After the war chiefs met, we wanted to know whose side you would be on, when our Nations prepared to fight the white soldiers.”
“Well, I guess you found out. I’m on your side. You have been a loyal wife and I have not been a good husband.”
“Now you can be,” she says, revealing her radiant smile, her perfectly formed white teeth and the flawless skin of her beautiful face. “You must be the best scout in the whole land to have found us, being half-dead as you were. This is a big country, and here you are. We probably moved ten times since you left. Besides not wanting to die, everyone wants to know why you really came back. Did you miss your wife?”
Two Crows feels a flush of embarrassment. “Of course I did.” He had been so busy living as a scout among other men that he’d neglected to pay much attention to the years that came and went. He flashes to the guilt he felt being with the white officer’s daughter Martha. He was responsible for her de-flowering, her persisting infatuation, which lasted three years and almost got him killed. Now he can’t believe why he ever chose her over the woman now in front of him. White Feather is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. He takes a few moments to study her flawless features. Suddenly he has mixed feelings of regret and desire. “A man needs his woman, his wife.” He looks her over. “I mostly remember when we played together as little children. It seems like a dream when I was here five years ago . . . only long enough for us to marry, not even half of one moon.” He glances at her body, clad in deerskin. “You’re more beautiful than I remember.”
“And you too.” She returns the body scan. “Quite handsome, I must say. So, tell me, why did you really come back?”
“To be with you,” he answers, searching deep into her eyes, half lying. “Can I call you what I called you when we were children—Achak?”
“Achak?” she laughs. “That’s a boy’s name. I’m a woman now. The woman you married is White Feather, not Achak.” She studies Two Crows, not losing eye contact. “You healed quickly. I am so grateful.”
“Did you see me naked?” he asks with a grin.
She giggles. “I did. I am your wife. Who else has seen you naked? You’re not shy at all.” Now he laughs. “Seriously,” she continues, “why did you really come back. I won’t tell anyone. I promise.”
“Promise?” She nods and he spits it out, “I’m having dreams . . .”
“Dreams of me?” White Feather says with another giggle, as she turns and walks away. After ten steps she looked back to see if his eyes were still on her.
“Hey,” he shouts back. “If I tell you that I dream of you, will you tell me that you dream of me, too?” A radiant smile covers her face as she turns and playfully skips away. “Come to our tipi tonight, husband. We can dream together.”
Two Crows doesn’t move until she’s well out of sight. “Come to our tipi, he thinks, aroused. He remembers the fun they had during his short visit, after being gone for over twenty years, and how he was so pleasantly surprised by her transformation into a most desirable woman. They knew they were meant for each other and everyone knew they were destined to marry. As soon as he arrived thoughts of White Feather replaced all other thoughts, after all, he was more than anything a virile young man who had yet to experience the pleasures of a woman from his tribe. After one week of romance, they were married. And then he left. Five years ago.
Two Crows continue his walk and approaches a group of warriors sitting around a fire.
“Two Crows,” one of the men calls out. “Come join us and tell us your story. Everyone wants to know.”
He sits at a small fire with fifteen warriors and asks, “What would you like to know?”
“They call me Three Legs,” one of the warriors begins. “Word spread quickly about your return, you being shot, and that Grandfather healed you. We all know you were a Crow scout. We do not hold it against you. We have stolen Crow children, and some of these men here were born Crow, but they will not admit it. You wearing black moccasins when you arrived was a good thing. It was very brave, you entering our village late at night. You would never have done that alone, as an enemy, we all agreed.”
When the warriors ask why he left the white man’s fort, Two Crows tells them about his dream of Sitting Bull’s war council, and his foreseeing the long haired General Custer’s death at Big Horn. “I went to see this Custer, and warned him not to go into this battle with Sitting Bull,” he says to the men. The warriors all grunt in approval of that story. “I would be dead like him if I had stayed and led the white chief in battle.” More grunts.
“Tell us how you became a Crow scout,” Three Legs asks as ten more warriors gather to listen.
“When I was six, my mother, father and grandfather were killed in a Crow attack on our village,” he begins. “I was taken and given to a barren Crow women, who in-turn traded me to the white soldiers for a couple of Winchester 44’s. I became part of a soldier’s family. I went to a school with the white children and learned to speak their tongue, but I was always treated like a slave. My spirit was too big for theirs, even as a boy. These white people could not control me, so I found a new family, the Crow who worked as scouts for the 7th Calvary. When I was ten, they gave me a horse, and I rode on missions with them. After twenty years, I was the Calvary’s best scout. Me, a Blackfeet, the best Crow scout.” The fascinated warriors chuckle. “I came back here five years ago. Maybe some of you remember. I married White Feather and then left.
“After my talk with the white chief Custer, one week ago, I gathered my Crow scouts and I told them of my dream, and suggested we all desert together. I did not want them to die. This became the subject of a heated discussion. All of them concluded that this life was their fate, good or bad, and would do as the soldier’s commanded. They knew I was different, so they accepted my decision to leave, and wished me well.”
“You knew they would all die?” one of the warriors asks, enthralled.
“Many of them. This is what I foresaw. There was nothing more I could do. Without hesitation, I grabbed my rifle, my canteen and some dried meat. I threw a blanket on the back of my horse, and left the fort.
“No one saw you leave?” one of the men questions.
“I didn’t think so, but an hour later I sensed, then confirmed, I was being followed by two soldiers, the calvary’s equivalent to the Crow scouts. I had worked directly under these men for the past year, and decided to confront them, to tell them that I was out hunting deer, wishing to share venison with my brothers. I didn’t know that someone saw me leaving the fort, and had told the long haired chief. It seems that he decided that I was a spy for Sitting Bull, and a deserter. He ordered these men to find me, and then kill me. This is what Grandfather saw in a vision, and told me after I was healed.”
“But you didn’t know this at the time,” Three Legs concludes.
“How would I know? As I was approaching them, they raised their rifles and began firing.”
“Now you knew,” one of the men adds, which gets grunts from the twenty-five Blackfeet warriors.
“If I had known they were out to kill me, the two men wouldn’t have had a chance. They would have died at my hands.” The gathered Blackfeet warriors voice their approval to that, as Two Crows continues, “But that’s not how it played out. I whipped my horse around, and started riding as fast as I could. Right away I felt the thud of a bullet enter my upper back, between my heart and shoulder. Right here.” He turns so everyone can see his bullet wound. “At first I thought I would soon be dead. I was in great pain. I slumped over. My chest was on my horse’s back and I held on, and kept riding. Much of what happened from then on, I don’t remember. I was delirious, and somehow I remained on my horse and kept riding, until I arrived here. I think it was three days later.”
He wants to tell them about the danger he may have brought, but decides to give it a day, until he’s strong enough to ride. He will then scout the area, for signs of being followed. But not now.
In the talk that followed, the warriors agree that the Old Man looks favorably on them, now that Two Crows has returned. They also agree that having been shot by the white soldiers is a good omen. He is no longer one of the enemy. He will help them in battle and defend the Blackfeet territory; another brave warrior at their side.
At the first opportunity he returns to his grandfather’s tipi. “Sit. Tell me about your walking dream this morning,” Grandfather says as soon as Two Crows enters.
Two Crows isn’t sure what the elder man is talking about. “Oh, you mean my walk around the camp.”
Grandfather nods, “Yes. Tell me.” He scratches at his hair, probably lice, and points to where Two Crows is to sit, across the fire from him.
Once he settles in his place, he begins, “I first saw my wife. She is more beautiful than I remember. Then, I met with a group of warriors. They welcomed me, knew I was a Crow scout, and wanted to hear my story. After I told them, they were glad to have me join them. They had been talking about raiding a Crow village soon, and before I left to come here, they asked me to join them. I think they want to see if I have a problem killing a Crow or two.”
“I’m not in favor of killing anyone,” he answers, hesitates, and then continues, “I’m not quite ready to go raid a village. I came here about my dreaming and to be with White Feather.”
“Yes. She was anxious to meet the conscious you, but I asked her to stay away until you were ready,” Grandfather says with a chuckle. “You remember that she’s Yellow Prairie Dog’s daughter, don’t you?”
“I forgot about him, Yellow Prairie Dog.”
“He’s our tribal chief.”
“Now I remember. So what don’t I know about her? Was she coupled with a man while I was gone?”
“Not now. Three years ago she thought you had died. She was with Three Scars.”
“Was? I thought Blackfeet marriages were for life. Why would she be with someone else?”
“Like I said, she thought your life was over. They never married. Then, two winters ago, he was lost in a storm. When they found him he was half frozen. Never the same. He became our contrary. He is contrary all the time. If you see him now, in summer, he will be all bundled up like it’s winter. In the winter he walks around naked. Every time White Feather walks up to him, he will walk away, backwards. They were never really together. She was praying for her husband to return. She was always dreaming about you.”
“Is that why she told me to dream about her?”
“I suppose. Follow your heart, Grandson. As she has followed hers. Here, share some buffalo meat with me. You need to be strong for your day dreams and night dreams, and your heart dreams.”
Back to his tipi, Two Crows walks in circles around the fire, kicks up some dust, nibbles on dried buffalo meat, hops around, stretches his muscles and wonders about White Feather; if he’s strong enough to lie with her.
He isn’t interested in going out to meet anyone else. Sitting by the fire, he tries not to think, but never-the-less, his mind is filled with two problems: Whether to go to White Feather’s tipi, and if someone had actually followed him from the army fort, and why, since he had apparently been mortally wounded.
Two Crows is stubborn, and even though he’s still healing, taking a mid-day nap is the last thing he’ll consider doing. Still, he feels drowsy, and reluctantly settles down on his sleeping skins.
It isn’t long before White Feather is standing before him. Her beauty and smile are as real as if she were actually there; so real that he can smell her sweet fragrance; can feel her heart pounding. Their faces are inches apart and he can smell her breath becoming one with his. Then he feels the warmth of her lips on his, so smooth and inviting, He wants to kiss her forever. Then he suddenly bolts up, “White Feather?”
He looked around the tipi. The orange glow in the center fire, and the crackling sound of scrub oak, remind him that he was only dreaming. He settled back down and looks up at the opened flap, and sees two stars still dancing in the afternoon sky. That’s us, he thinks.
After some minutes, he drifts back to sleep. Her face returns, and then suddenly changes. She’s now a she-wolf. He hears himself bark with what must be approval, longing, desire. White Feather, the wolf, is as beautiful to him as White Feather the woman, more beautiful now that he’s become his wolf self. This takes some getting used to, for him to get his bearings, to think as a wolf and accept himself in this form; more time to accept himself than to accept her.
They stand five feet from each other on a path, the village tipis in the near distance, under the near full moon. He studies her silvery white fur, illuminated by what seems like a natural glow, accented by the light of the moon. Her green eyes search his soul, and his hers as he surrenders to the reality of this dream.
She calls his name; the name he was first named, Two Moons. He gazes into her eyes. Summer Moon, he says back, not knowing where that name came from. She smiles. Her beauty, everything about her as a wolf, about himself as a wolf, is confusing, and at the same time invigorating, frightening and sexually exciting. With no apparent effort or desire to do so, her wolf presence arrests not only the he-wolf; but the human inside the wolf body. She makes his knees weak, makes him feel awkward, strong, brave and innocent all at the same time. It takes great inner strength to let this meeting pass with no apparent outward reaction on his part, without howling at the moon. And yet he now realizes that his inner reaction is profound. She has captured his soul.
Half conscious, half asleep, more comfortable now with lucid dreaming, the wolf Summer Moon lingers on the path in front of him. Looking into her green eyes is like he’s looking into the pool of eternity. They are ancient, mysterious and wise eyes. Ancestor eyes. She takes him on a journey, without words, to where, with human bodies, they together are the past and the future of the Blackfeet. Together they’ll go to places others would never dream of. She finally speaks, ‘We are family, forever.’
As he continues this dream, the human White Feather enters his tipi, disrobes and slips under his buffalo blanket. She folds her body into his and whispers into his ear, I have waited a long time for you to come home, my brave man. Holding her tightly in his arms, he whispers back, I have returned for you, my love. Only for you. We will walk the Seventh Path together. With that said, they make passionate love, as wolves and lovers do.
Half awake, aroused beyond measure, he remembers that he’s still dreaming. The Seventh Path? He returned to stop his dreaming, and now here she was, both wolf and woman; his lover, in a most wonderful dream. He smiles at the thought of her slipping under his buffalo blanket, and the raw animal love they shared, hoping this dream would come true in human form.
He spends the rest of the afternoon thinking of her and of the Seventh Path; flying though the sky, riding the High Pony, and if the army scouts are out there waiting for him.
As the sun is setting, he throws more wood into the fire, then thinks about going for a walk. He n’t interested in meeting anyone, except White Feather. His thoughts and dreams of her are too important to disturb, so he stays put, and eats his fill of dried river trout.
Later, lying under his buffalo blanket, he surrenders to more dreams of White Feather. He’s not sure when the dreaming stopped and the reality began, as she slips under his blanket and her nakedness entwines with his, their body’s knowingly moving in rhythm; her desire for him equal to his for her, as they slowly, as if it were the most precious thing they had ever done, make love. In the purity of that moment he knows that she was sent by the great spirit to be with him.
As they lay satisfied, while breathing in her sweet smell, she speaks to him, “Do you now understand that we were always destined to ride the High Pony together?”
“We must never separate again, my love. We either dream as one, be as one, or not at all.”
As he thinks about these words, laying there in the aftermath of their bliss, her dream body slips from his embrace and floats above him, and then reappears as the she-wolf at the entrance of his tipi. He remembers Grandfather’s story of two moons. As the wolf she called me Two Moons. She is Summer Moon. Two moons in the night sky. She turns and runs into the sky, a white wolf joining in the night stars.
“White Feather,” he whispers in her ear. “You are my other moon. I will never leave you. We possess the same power in a different form. This has to be true. If I am the male alpha wolf, then you are the female alpha wolf.”
“Yes, my love,” she answers. “I had this dream too. Together, we are two crows, two wolves, two moons, aware in every direction. No one can separate or defeat us. If your eyes are hard, mine will be soft, if yours are soft, then mine will be hard.”
“Our hearts strong and gentle.”
Two Crows sees how truly beautiful she is, lying in his arms. He feels her strength and agility; her tenderness and how their bodies complete one another. He now realizes that their years of separation were but the weavings of separated threads, until they finally came together as one cloak.
He sees the sacred weaving of their minds and souls entwined, his self/her self saying, You are my love forever. Welcome home.
After she’s sound asleep, he steps out of the tipi and looks at the billion stars in the Montana sky; at the almost full moon. The village is quiet. In the distance he hears sounds, he’s trained to hear sounds, but this night they are the trickle of water over rocks in the nearby river, bathing him in peace. The howls of coyotes in the distant remind him that is walking dream and sleeping dream are both real.
And then he hears it. One of his sounds. The sound of a Crow scout.
Early the next morning, after White Feather leaves, Two Crows enters Grandfather’s tipi, and assumes his place across from the elder. He accepts the proffered pipe, and they quietly share tobacco. It isn’t time for him to speak.
Entranced by the fire, memories of his years as a scout for the calvary came flooding back; leading a blue coat army into many battles. The image of his arrow through the heart of a Blackfeet brother forever haunts him. He led the white invaders to slaughter the original people; the Cheyenne, the Sioux and Blackfeet. His people. How could have done this? Why did he do it? Why did I abandon my dear White Feather for so many years?
His fellow scouts often asked the same questions, but each had a reason to stay. Most said it was their fate, they were obliged to stay until death. This scout life is why they got up each day. It was where they were fed, sheltered and given tobaccoIt seemed that only Two Crows knew he had a greater fate; that one day he would return to his Blackfeet village and fight with his fellow warriors, and stop the white man from taking over their hunting grounds. He would return to hiswife, and they would have many children. Now that he was back, he can see that his dream is coming true.
Dogs barking outside the tipi startle him from his thoughts.
He feels her presence even before the older woman enters the tipi. Two Crows instinctively springs up. She stops, focusing in the dimly lit tipi, gives Two Crows a long stern look, and then laughs. “The boy’s all better now,” she turns back and says to her daughter, who had walked in behind her. She has no idea the two had spent the night together. “Looks better without all that sweat, acting like he was dying and all that. Healthy now, eh?” she says to him, walking up close to examine the gun wound. Without waiting for a response, she continues, “He’s grown into quite the handsome man, Don’t you agree?” she says to her daughter. With that said, the white-haired woman, still quite lovely in her middle-age, heads directly to Grandfather and places a tray of food next to him, as her morning routine dictates. She then motions for White Feather to sit on one side of Two Crows, as she sits on the other, facing Grandfather.
Two Crows recognizes White Feather’s mother, Sits-in-the-Sun, though he had had only seen her briefly during the two weeks when he married her daughter. She’s a strong woman with a forceful personality, but she seems inconsequential to Two Crows, compared to the young woman sitting next to him. He can’t keep from glancing at her, her eyes turning to his, coy grins on their faces.
Sit’s-in-the-Sun studies Two Crows, who is ignoring her, and then turns and speaks to grandfather. “Look at her. She was useless all day yesterday. She didn’t lift her hand to do one chore. All she wanted to do is talk to the other girls about him. We must do something about this.”
Grandfather listens, grunts, and then raises his voice, “Two Crows!” The infatuated man turned his gaze from White Feather. “Respect your mother-in-law. Sits-in-the-Sun.”
“Excuse me,” he chokes.
“You see what’s happening, don’t you, Wolf Eyes?” The mother asks.
“I saw what’s happening, even before he arrived. What do you suggest?”
“We must make a decision right now. What do you have to say for yourself, boy?” She gives Two Crows a long look.
He appears dumbstruck. What’s she talking about? White Feather is his wife. He thinks of the night when a Sioux warrior was about to hit him in the head with a tomahawk. He had to act quickly and decisively, to make it clearly known that he was indeed her husband. “You do know that I am married to your daughter?”
Sits-in-the-Sun looks at Grandfather and says, “I thought his fever was over. You said he was intelligent.” She then turns to Two Crows. “What do you think, boy? Do you always ask dumb questions? Of course I know she’s your wife. Why didn’t you come to her tipi last night? What do you have to say for yourself?”
Two Crows looks at her, dumbfounded. Then at White Feather, who is looking down, nervously playing with her hair, and then to Grandfather for a reaction, his head spinning with the quick turn of events. “You know your truth, grandson,” he kindly offers as he takes another inhale from his pipe and grins. Two Crows turns to the older woman and mumbles, “Did you know my mother?” He has to say something instead of belittling White Feather for her aggression, coming to his tipi.
She looks into Two Crows eyes and softens. “Your mother and I were like sisters. She was my best friend and I will always miss her. We talked about the day our little ones would grow up and be married. Yes.”
“Yes, you have my blessings to sleep with my daughter,” she answers. “We saw how you two fit together long before you did. You have returned to this village to be with her. Now you must protect your wife and prepare for your future children. Do you swear you will never leave again until the day you die?”
Two Crows looks over at White Feather, who now glances up at him, a broad smile on her face. Their eyes lock for a long moment. She grins, her eyes twinkle, and he’s sure. “Yes, I swear,” he says to Sits-in-the-Sun, and turn his head again, smiling at White Feather, who closes her eyes and exhales. She opens them and looks at her mother, “I too swear to be a faithful wife and love Two Crows until the day I die.”
“Good. So be it,” she says, looking triumphant. “You two can embrace now. Go ahead.” Two Crows and White Feather stand, hug each other; and hold on to one another, like they never want to let go.
“Ahem,” Sits-in-the-Sun finally interrupts, “That’s enough. Tonight you will sleep together. Now Sit.” They do. “Wolf Eyes . . . will you tell them the story of Feather-Woman and her son Poia?”
Grandfather grins as he fills his pipe with more tobacco. Sits-in-the-Sun gets up and moves next to the old man, so White Feather and Two Crows could lean into one another. Wolf Eyes throws more wood into the fire, and begins the story:
“Once during the summer of the earliest times, when it was too hot to sleep indoors, a beautiful maiden named Feather-Woman slept outside in the tall prairie grass.
“She opened her eyes just as the Morning Star came into view, and she began to look on it with wonder. She mused in her heart how beautiful it was, and she fell in love with it.
“When her sisters got up, she told them that she had fallen in love with the Morning Star. They told her that she was insane! Feather-Woman told everyone in her village about the Morning Star, and soon she was an object of ridicule among her people.
“One day she left the village to draw some water out of a creek. There she saw the most handsome man she had ever imagined. At first she thought he was a young man of her own tribe who had been hunting, and she coyly avoided him. But he then identified himself as the Morning Star.
“He said, ‘I know you were watching me and fell in love with me. Even as you were looking up at the sky, I was looking down on you. I watched you in the tall prairie grass and knew that it was only you that I wanted for my wife. Come with me to my home in the sky.’
“Feather-Woman was stricken with awe and paralyzed with fear. She knew that this was a god standing before her. She told Morning Star that she would need time to say good-bye to her parents and sisters. However, he told her there was no time for this.
“He then gave her a magic yellow feather in one hand and a juniper branch in the other. Then he told her to close her eyes. When she opened them again, she was in the Sky-Country, standing before the lodge of Morning Star, the home of his parents, the Sun and the Moon, where they were married. As it was daytime, the Sun was out doing his work, but the mother, the Moon, was at home doing chores. She immediately took a liking to the girl and gave her fine robes to wear.
“Feather-Woman loved her husband and his parents, and in time gave birth to a little boy whom they named Star-Boy. But Feather-Woman needed to find things to do in her new home. So the Moon gave her a root-digging stick to work with, carefully instructing her not to dig up the Great Turnip that grew near the home of Spider Man, warning that terrible ills would be unleashed if she did so.
“Feather-Woman was fascinated by the Great Turnip and wondered why it was feared. After all, it looked like any other turnip, only much larger. She walked closely around it, being careful not to touch it. She took Star Boy off her back and placed him on the ground. As she was digging, two great cranes flew overhead. She asked the cranes to help her and they obliged her, singing a secret magic song that made light work of digging the Great Turnip.
“Now, the Moon had been very wise in warning Feather-woman not to dig around the Great Turnip, for it plugged the hole through which Morning Star had brought Feather-Woman into the Sky-Country. With a loud plop she pulled the Great Turnip out. Looking down through the hole, she saw a camp of the Blackfoot Indians, perhaps her own village, far below her.
“As she saw the mortals doing their daily chores below, she became homesick and began to weep. In order to conceal what she had done, she rolled the turnip loosely into place and returned to the lodge where she lived with her husband and son.
“When Morning Star returned to the lodge, he was very sad. He said nothing, then, ‘How could you have been disobedient and dig up the Great Turnip?’ Moon and Sun were also sad and asked her the same question.
“At first Feather-Woman did not answer, then she admitted her disobedience. Her in-laws had known that she would dig up the Great Turnip, despite their warnings. The reason for the sadness was that they knew that she had disobeyed them and must now be banished forever from the Sky-Country.
“The next day, Morning Star took his wife to Spider Man, who built a web from the hole of the Great Turnip down to earth. When Feather-Woman descended down the web, it looked to the people below like a star falling from the sky.
“When Feather-Woman arrived on earth with her child, she was welcomed by her parents and the people of their village. But she was never happy. Early in the morning, she looked up at the sky to speak with Morning Star, but he didn’t answer her.
“After many months had passed, Morning Star finally did speak to her. ‘You can never return to the Sky-Country,’ he warned. ‘You committed a great sin and brought unhappiness and death into the world.’ Hearing this was too much for Feather-Woman to bear; soon she died of her unhappiness.”
Grandfather takes a long exhale from his pipe, and then continues, “The orphaned Star Boy lived with his human grandparents until they died. He was a shy boy who ran as soon as he heard the approach of a stranger’s footsteps. The most notable thing about him was a scar on his face, which led to his nickname, Poia, meaning “scar face.” As he grew into manhood, people cruelly ridiculed him because of his scar and his pretension to be the son of the Morning Star.
“Thus maltreated, Poia was heartbroken by the further indignity of being rejected by the daughter of the chief. His life growing unbearable, Poia consulted with an old medicine woman. She told him there was only one way for the scar to be removed: He would have to return to the Sky-Country and have his grandfather, the Sun, take it off.
“Knowing that his mother had been banished from the Sky-Country, this was bad news to Poia. How could he return to the land of his birth? The old woman said that there was a way back to the Sky-Country, but that Poia must find it himself. Feeling sorry for the boy, she gave him some food for the journey.
“Poia traveled for days and days, over mountains, through forests, through snow, across deserts, until he reached the Great Water that the white man calls the Pacific Ocean, for this was the farthest west, where the sun goes at night. For three days, Poia fasted and prayed. On the third day he saw rays reflecting on the Great Water, forming a path to the Sun. He followed the path and arrived at the home of his grandparents, the Sun and the Moon.
“Upon finding Poia asleep on their doorstep, the Sun at first was prepared to kill the mortal, as no earth-dweller could enter the Sky-Country. But the Moon persuaded him not to do so; she recognized the scar and told the Sun it was their grandson. Soon, Moon, Sun and Morning Star all welcomed Poia. At the request of his grandson, the Sun removed the scar.
“The Sun also taught Poia great magic and the truth of the world. Poia’s grandfather explained that the people of the earth were suffering as a result of Feather-woman disobedience. The Sun had a message for the Blackfoot people: If they would honor him but once a year by doing the Sun Dance, all the sick would be healed.
“Poia himself learned the Sun Dance quickly, and his grandfather grew to love him very much. His grandparents gave him a magic flute to charm women into falling in love with him. But, because of his mother’s disobedience, Poia had to return to earth, which he did by walking down the Milky Way.
“When Poia returned to the Blackfoot people, they honored him. He taught them the wisdom he had learned from the Sun and, most important, he taught them how to do the Sun Dance, which indeed healed the sick.
“Because of Poia’s great deeds, the Sun and Moon allowed him to bring his new wife, the chief’s daughter who had once rejected him, to the Sky-Country, where they remained forever. Now Poia himself is a star that rises with the Morning Star.”
With the story told, Two Crows, White Feather and Sits-in-the-Sun all thank the elder, rise and silently leave Grandfather’s tipi. Two Crows and White Feather spend a short time under the sun, acknowledging that they are indeed now forever together.
Two Crows spent the day roaming the village. He spoke with elders, warriors, young women, old women and children. He listened to their stories, told a few of his own, shared remembrances of his childhood there, and learned things about his mother he never knew. He looked around for White Feather, but she was nowhere to be seen. He longed to see her, to be alone with her.
Early that evening, she enters his tipi with a large bowl of venison stew, and places it on his lap. They had spent a long day apart, since they sat side-by-side in Grandfather’s tipi, where Sits-in-the-Sun, in an odd way, re-blessed their marriage. Them sleeping together the night before was like an unreal dream, an act of pure passion, not grounded to reality.
They had yet to discuss their personal hopes, thoughts, desires, and fears, although his dream fulfilled with her the night before proved they were still right for each other, as lovers, they were both unsure how their relationship would play out in real day-to-day life. The last time they were together, they married and he immediately left her, only to return now, five years later.
She sits across from him in silence and watches as he devours the stew. When he finishes, he places the bowl to his side, and begins what becomes a long gaze into her eyes.
“Thank you, White Feather,” he says, breaking the silence. “I have not had a decent Blackfeet meal since I was last with you. This makes my stomach and my heart sing with happiness.”
“And my heart, too,” she answers. Her smile is radiant.
“I dreamed of you all day today,” Two Crows boldly offers. “Did you miss me?”
“I did. I know we share the same dream. There are many things we still need to talk about.” White Feather stares into the fire for some time before catching his eyes again, continuing, “I had no idea that my mother would say what she said.”
“I know that,” he answers.
“I thought we would need time to get to know each other again. To live apart until I know I can trust you to stay.”
“No, she was right. Yesterday I was useless. I spent all day thinking about you, us. Today, when I was supposed to be gathering wood, I was in dreamtime thinking about us. When I woke up from my dreaming, all I could do, the only correct thing to do, was cook this meal for you.”
“It was delicious.” He smiles and says, “This is what I want every night.”
“You returning was all so sudden,” she honestly offers.
“My heart was in great pain not seeing you today,” Two Crows admits.
“I’m afraid,” she says.
“Afraid? Of what?”
“I am afraid that you will soon leave me again. I’m afraid that I will not be good enough for you. You rejected me. Then Three Scars rejected me. I don’t want you to reject me ever again.”
“He only rejected you because his mind is damaged. Maybe mine was too. I lived in the white fort for twenty years. That was my life, my family, where I thought I needed to be.”
“As a scout I learned to look around, think quickly and make the right decision. If I hesitated, then all was lost. This is the right decision. I’m sure of it. I never want to lose you again. I know I will be a good husband, and you will be a faithful wife.”
“Of course I will. When I first saw you, lying there, dying, I knew you wouldn’t die, that you had returned to be with me. Last night both our dreams and our bodies were weaving. We were born to weave. Together. Is this how you feel?”
“It is. Please don’t be afraid of the future, White Feather. The white soldiers tried to kill me. I have no life there, only life here. Both Grandfather, who can see many things, and your mother, know how to make the right decisions. They have given us their blessings.”
“My mother also said this to me after our talk this morning.”
“It is only right you have come to my tipi. You are now my wife . . . again. A wife cooks stew for her husband. A husband will protect her. We are both doing what we are called to do, honoring our tradition, our way of life. I must do my part now. I not think this will ever change.”
“Are you sure you will not someday leave me again?”
“Never. I was wrong returning to the white soldiers. I can’t imagine why I would I ever leave one as precious as you, one who weaves her heart with mine.”
She blushes. “I hope not. Even with my fears, do you still want me to share your dreams?”
“I do. Yes, I do. This night and every night from now on. And my buffalo blanket.”
“Tonight, from now on?”
“Yes. Of course. Where else would you want to be? From now on we are two threads woven into one blanket. We cannot change the direction of our stitch. It is already done.” Two Crows pauses and waits for her response. He finally asks, “Are you sure this is what you really want? To share my tipi and be my wife from now on?”
“Yes. There is nothing I want more. I want to share your heart, share your truth. I am your wife forever. I accept that we are two dreamers in one dream, the weaving of one heart. I am here to honor you, if you truly accept me as you say you do. I want our two dreams to become one dream, our dream. Then there will be no conflict.” With that said White Feather stands and walks toward the tipi flap.”
“Where are you going?” Two Crows asks, unsure why she chose to move away and not come to his side.
“I will return,” she says in a sweet voice. “I must tell my mother that I have chosen your tipi from now on. I must prepare myself for you.”
“I will wait for your return,” Two Crows responds, feeling the joy of this turn of events rushing through every cell of his body. “But I must warn you . . .”
“My dreams are not ordinary dreams. They may frighten you.”
“If not, then why would you want to stop them?”
“I’m not sure I still do. I returned so Grandfather could make them stop. But now I want to know what they’re about. Maybe tonight you will share my dream, and you will see what I see.”
“I want to dream these dreams with you,” she honestly answers.
“I have something else to warn you about.”
“What is it?”
“I was followed here,” he whispers.
“I don’t know. I was too weak to circle back and find out. It may be one person, a scout, or many soldiers waiting to attack. I have to go out later tonight and find who is out there. I know what these soldiers can do. I have seen them kill many people, burn down villages, for no reason. I’m afraid for you, White Feather, and for our people. I can’t let another night pass, fearing that you are in danger. When the moon is straight above, I will slip out and find them.”
“Will you be safe? Should you bring some men with you?”
“I am a scout, remember? I will be okay, but if they are enemy, they will not be okay. I will see to it.”
“I wish I were as brave as you, then I would be by your side.”
“Go now,” Two Crows says with a happy smile on his face, “and hurry back. I can’t wait to share my blanket with you.”
Two Crows wonders how he could be so lucky. The venison stew was the best he had ever had. His belly is full and his heart is too. White Feather had kissed him passionately before she left to collect her belongs, to move into his tipi.
She also needed to bathe properly, and then spend the time necessary to prepare his tipi for their first official night together. He needed to find his horse; his thoughts were now confident about her, but not about the possible eminent danger.
Grandfather summons Two Crows and White Feather to his tipi, to share his evening meal. They didn’t want to go since a lot of domestic work needed to be done to prepare for the serious business of love-making. Regardless, they have no other choice but to obey his wishes.
Grandfather lights his medicine pipe and takes a long drag. He then hands it first to Two Crows, and then to White Feather. Several minutes pass. They all stare at the fire. White Feather reaches over and takes her husband’s hand. They look into each other’s eyes, wishing they could get the hell out of there.
Sits-in-the-Sun enters the tipi with a wooden platter filled with cooked buffalo meat and sweet yams. “Eat,” Grandfather commands. For the next ten minutes they nibble at the food in silence.
After they have eaten, Grandfather speaks to Two Crows, “I am pleased that you have decided to stay. My Blackfeet elders taught me that everything has its purpose. Everything is in perfect harmony.” He reaches for his pipe and lights it again, taking in another lung full. This time he doesn’t share his pipe. The smoke remains in his lungs for a long time before he exhales. The anxious-to-leave couple watches and waits while he repeats this several times. “You can relax now,” he finally says. White Feather moves to sit in front of Two Crows. He folds her into his arms.
“We, the Blackfeet Nation, will survive,” Wolf Eyes continues. “We cannot stop the white man. No matter how much of our land they take, or how many of us they kill, we will survive.” He pauses. “It is because of you, the both of you, that we will survive. A young Blackfeet woman will forever find a young Blackfeet man to share a tipi, to make babies. This is the way of the Original People.”
There’s another long pause while Grandfather repeats his smoking ritual. He then says, “You have my blessings, too.”
“Thank you, Grandfather,” they say in one voice.
The anxious lovers wait for his permission to leave. They sit in silence for a long time before Grandfather speaks again. “You and I share a fate, Grandson. You cannot deny who you are. You are now walking in the three worlds. This one, the one you cannot see, and the one to come.”
“I only wish to be in this one, alone with White Feather, under our buffalo blanket,” Two Crows interrupts, forgetting for a moment who he’s speaking to. He’s well accustomed to speaking his mind as an Army scout, though at that very moment he remembers that speaking his mind had put a bullet in his chest. “We are anxious to be as husband and wife, to finally begin our life together . . .”
“The pleasures of your body will be met, but right now I must prepare you for your dreams,” the old man interrupts. “The old ways of the Original People are changing. The white man is forcing us into treaties, drawing lines on the earth, telling us where we must live, giving us their disease, poison firewater, killing the buffalo, and many of our people. They are taking away our hunting grounds, our rights, our freedom. But, they cannot take away our spirit. We will always be Blackfeet. It is you, Grandson, who must dream the future of the Blackfeet Nation.” He pauses to fill his pipe again, and then looks directly into Two Crow’s eyes. “In this future time you are dreaming, it will be you who will lead the Original People back to our natural way of living.”
“I don’t understand, Grandfather.”
“Nor do I,” White Feather adds.
“You remember your dream, the one where the Crow took you from our tribe?”
“Yes, of course. I lost my family that day.”
“This is how it is with life. Things are taken away. Then new things are given. Tell us the real story of why you left the white man’s fort.”
“Because I wanted you to help me stop dreaming. And be with my wife.”
The elder laughs. “You must stop telling me and everyone else that you are not a dreamer. Did he tell you that he is not a dreamer, Granddaughter?”
“No, he told me that he was a dreamer, that his dreams may frighten me, but that he now wants to understand them and share them with me.”
“This is good,” Grandfather responds. “Your husband dreams of many things. He has many stories to tell.” He pauses and studies Two Crows for a while. “You dreamt of your life back here, as a Blackfeet warrior, as a husband and father, did you not?” The young man nods. “So you came back to live that dream, and she was here waiting for you, as are your future children. The Old Man watches over you. But tell us, why did you really leave?”
“I foresaw a great battle, and my death. That was not my destiny, so I deserted.”
“Not your destiny, eh? Tell us what you saw.”
“A few nights before I left the fort, I had a dream,” Two Crows begins. White Feather moves away from him, so she can see his eyes as he speaks. “I entered the great longhouse of a war counsel. I looked down at an old chief who was speaking to another chief. He said, ‘The long hair white chief will not see another moon. His warriors are only many hundred and we the Cheyenne, the Lakota and the Arapaho, led by the great chief Sitting Bull from the Sioux, we are many thousand. The white chief has too much pride. He does not think with wisdom. He will die, along with many of his soldiers and scouts.’ Then I saw a gathering of thousands of warriors on horseback. There was a great battle, and long haired general from my fort, half of the white soldiers and most of my brother scouts, were killed. I foresaw what could have been my death. I was to have led the white chief into battle.”
“That was what you were ordered to do, to lead the blue coats to their deaths?” White Feather speaks for the first time.
“The white chief thought it would be the other way around. That I would lead them victory. They would slaughter the Original People. The dream was an omen, telling me that I was suppose to prevent this massacre, to stop the killing before it even began.”
“What did you do?” she’s now engaged.
“Early the next morning, I had to tell the great white chief about my dream. My Crow friend See’s Clearly and I went to where he was.”
“Were you a trusted advisor?” White Feather asks, not knowing what his former life was like.
“The white chief had never spoken one word directly to me. To him, the Crow scouts were like speaking horses. He would talk to the white scouts, who would talk to us. I think the long hair didn’t even know we spoke his tongue.”
“They thought you were stupid?” White Feather can’t believe they treated her man this way.
“Not when it came to tracking.” Grandfather hands Two Crows the pipe, and after a quiet smoke, he continues, “When See’s Clearly and I got to his door, one of his men told us to wait. I heard the man speak, ‘There’s two Indian scouts want to see you, sir. One calls himself Two Crows. He’s the best we have. They wish a word with you.’ Custer told the man to bring me in. ‘Only the one heathen,’ I heard him say. I looked at See’s Clearly and went alone into the office. He was sitting back in a chair while another man shaved him with a straight razor. Finally the white chief took a quick glance at me and barked, ‘What do you want?’ He looked irritated. At first I couldn’t speak. ‘Well, spit it out boy,’ he said, his eyes looking at the ceiling. I finally said, ’I have had a vision.’ ‘You speak English? A vision?’ he repeated without looking at me. At this moment I thought I had done the right thing, coming to see him, until he spoke again, ‘I don’t believe in visions, boy. You better have something good to say, bringing your filth into my office.’
“My head was spinning, now not knowing if I made a wise choice. With great strength, I let it all out, ’In a vision I saw the gathering of many thousands of your enemy, mainly Sioux and Lakota, some Cheyenne and Arapaho. The great chief Sitting Bull is setting a trap for you and your army. If you do not change your plans, we will all die.’ Custer didn’t respond right away, but finally he looked over at me like I was a crazy man.
“He said, ‘I told you, I don’t believe in visions or your heathen rituals. As far as I know, you’re spying for them. Get the hell out of here before I mess my office with your blood.’ I stood there. ‘Go!’ he yelled to me in disgust. I didn’t move because I couldn’t believe he would think I was a spy. Then he yelled louder, ‘Get the fuck out of here!’
“I do not know this word. What did you do?” White Feather seems shocked at what she’s hearing.
“I left as fast as I could. See’s Clearly had heard everything. I decided I had to go, to do what they call desert, before he had one of his soldier come and kill me.”
“Do the scouts desert often?” she asks.
“Never.” He looks deep into her eyes, filled with compassion, then continues his story, “See’s Clearly watched me mount my horse, and I didn’t think anyone except him saw me leave. I rode for maybe two hours before one of the soldiers shot me. It first I thought I would soon be dead, but I held on to my horse and kept riding all that day and into the night. I kept seeing a hawk. I know it was the hawk who led me back here. That was three nights ago. Maybe the Great White Chief led his soldiers to their deaths, I do not know. But that was the vision I saw.”
“I saw it in my dream. It came to pass yesterday, in the valley of Little Big Horn,” Grandfather offers. “The great white chief is dead. You were wise to leave when you did,” he says. “We will continue speaking of our dreams,” he concludes as he motions them to go.
White Feather decides to forgo organizing their tipi until the next day, and it isn’t long before they’re under the buffalo blanket, exploring each other’s bodies and sharing their love. Their love making could have continued on throughout the night, if not for the next thing he needed to do.
When he sees the moon through the hole in the apex of his tipi, he gets up. She walks him to his horse and they kiss goodbye, “Come back soon, my love,” she says as he rides off to find out who has followed him to the Blackfeet village.
Two Crows moves silently though the mostly open brush. Fortunately the moon is nearing her fullness, so the land is brightened in the midnight hour. He had heard a call the night before, so whoever it is, can’t be too far away. He stops and rests under a tree, and then hears the sound again.
Over the years, Two Crows and his fellow scouts had developed a sophisticated vocabulary of hoots and howls. To most listeners it sounded like the chatter of the night; owls, hawks, crickets, frogs, coyotes and wolves. There was a certain cadence and timing in their sounds, which told the others to go forward, go around, move back, regroup, the enemy is to the north or south, east or west, and how far away. They could tell a Crow sound from a Sioux or Cheyenne sound, Blackfeet or Cree. He has no doubt that the sound he heard came from his best friend, See’s Clearly.
Two Crows howls like the coyote, the sound of a Crow scout identifying himself as such. He waits.
See’s Clearly howls back, and then his cricket sound message tells him that he’s alone, and it’s safe to come. Two Crows follows directions to a blind by a river, surrounded by huge boulders. His friend has build a fire, and as he rides into the camp he’s shocked by who he sees.
As he dismounts, the white girl named Martha runs to him, wraps her arms around him, and tries to kiss his lips. He pushes her away, and then looks at her dirty white shirt, her blue short jacket and matching long heavy dress, and her mussed-up bonnet covering her uncombed hair. She appears haggard and confused. She’s the girl he de-flowered over two years before, and is now nineteen.
“Oh Two Crows, I’m so happy to see you’re okay. I was so scared. The two soldiers bragged about shooting you. They said they killed you. See’s Clearly said it wasn’t true. That you weren’t dead. I believed him. Why did you leave the fort? You didn’t say goodbye. Why did they want to kill you? I don’t understand. I made See’s Clearly follow you, so I could help you, if you were dying. You don’t look like you’re dying.” she nervously rambles. “Are you alright?”
“Of course I’m all right,” Two Crows answers, annoyed that she followed him. “Why did you bring her?” he yells at See’s Clearly, whose bare-chest is covered with a shield of white beads. He’s wearing a second-hand white man’s heavy cotton jacket, and his government issued blue calvary pants are turned up to mid-calf, his moccasins finely beaded. He has a long knife tucked in his waist band, and his trusted Winchester 44 is leaning on the nearby boulder.
“I made him bring me,” Martha answers defiantly. “I begged him. Gave him money. The long knife I took from my father’s chest. All because I love you.” Not only are her words repugnant, she smells in a way that tempts Two Crows to throw her into the river, to bathe, even though it’s the middle of the night.
“You know we were ordered to never see each other again. I almost lost my life over you, Martha. Your father gave orders to shoot me if any soldier saw me with you. You’re a crazy girl.”
“But I love you. Don’t you see? I will always love you, Two Crows. Always.”
He looks at her coldly, then turns to his friend. “You left before the battle?” The other scout nods. “So you don’t know what happened at Big Horn?” He shakes his head No. “The white chief Custer, his brothers and hundreds of the soldiers died.”
“No! How would you know that? Did my father die?” Martha almost shrieks.
“I don’t know, but if he rode next to Custer, as he always did, he is most certainly dead. That doesn’t concern me. I’m angry that you’re here.” His power stance over her is absolute.
“But I want to be with you, only you. That’s why I came all this way. Rode that stinking horse for days. I will die without you,” she pleads, trying in vain to hug him.
“I have a wife, Martha. A Blackfeet wife. I will never be with you.”
“How can you have a wife in three days? I don’t believe you.”
“It doesn’t matter if you believe me or not. See’s Clearly will take you back tonight. Then I want you to forget about me forever.”
“Shush,” See’s Clearly quietly says. “Listen.” A familiar coyote howl comes from not far away. “It’s one of us.”
“You were followed?” Two Crows asks, astonished by this turn of events. “Who is following you? Did you know?”
“I saw signs of them this afternoon. I was going to tell you.” The two men stare at each other. Two Crows is thoroughly disgusted with the whole situation. “I have to answer, and find out who it is,” See’s Clearly finally says, and then chirps his name and waits for a response.
The chirping howling exchange tells them that Dog Boy is not so far away. They invite their brother scout to their camp.
“Good. You’re safe,” Dog Boy says as soon as he dismounts and sees Martha. “Your mother has been a crazy woman since your father was killed.” The Crow scouts have a habit of being blunt without compassion. The girl now begins to cry, facing the fact that she lost her future husband and her father, within one hour.
“Is my mother with you?” Martha asks, as she looks at Dog Boy with tear soaked eyes.
“No, but twenty blue coats are. We’ve been riding harder two days. For some reason they’re blaming the deaths of Custer, her father and over two hundred soldiers who died, on you, Two Crows. I have been ordered to find you, kill you, and bring your scalp back to her. I am sorry Martha, but your mother is a very crazy woman,” Dog Boy answers. He’s dressed in a faded brown long-sleeved cotton shirt, covered with a similar chest-full of white beads, and the same army issue pants See’s Clearly and Two Crows wear, but his touch the ground, covering his bare feet. He only wears moccasins in winter.
“Is that what you intend to do, kill me?” Two Crows asks.
Dog Boy laughs. “Kill you? You are my brother. Why would I ever kill you?”
“It’s true. We are brothers, but I am Blackfeet?” Two Crows answers.
“There are only six of us left,” Dog Boy responds, unconcerned with what Two Crows has just revealed. “All the rest of our brothers were killed in the battle. I was lucky. I was with forty soldiers who were to attack later, but I saw what was happening, so we turned back, returned to the fort.”
“So everyone was busy attending to the dead and wounded when you left?” Two Crows asks and he nods. “And her mother didn’t care. She sent you and twenty soldiers to kill me and bring her daughter back? The woman has lost her mind.”
“She was crazy, yes. Barking orders like a commanding officer. She told me not to come back if I don’t have your scalp and, sorry, See’s Clearly, your scalp too.” Dog Boy says with a grin. “There is something else.” He pauses. “Your mother says you must marry Lieutenant Turner, as soon as we bring you back.”
“What?” Martha screams. “Marry that horrible Winston Turner? He is a disgusting old man. I will never marry him. Never! I am not going back, no matter what my terrible mother thinks.”
“Listen, Two Crows,” Dog Boy continues, ignoring Martha. “These soldiers are all angry. Their brothers were slaughtered and they’re looking for blood. Revenge. If I don’t bring her back now, tomorrow the soldiers will invade your village, looking for her,” Dog Boy gives Two Crows his most serious look. “I am sure they will kill as many of your people as they can.”
“I will not go back with you. Not tonight. Not ever,” the girl wails. “I’m tired. Where will I sleep tonight?”
Two Crows thinks about it for a while, also ignoring her, and then speaks, “If they are looking to kill hostiles, they will come no matter what. There is only one solution. You must take me to your soldier’s camp, so I will know were it is.”
“I will not go back to marry that disgust ing man, or to live with my crazy mother,” Martha pleads, too emotionally distraught to follow what’s being suggested. “I don’t care if you have a wife. I want to marry you!”
Two Crows ignores the hysterical girl and continues, “You do understand that I need to protect my people, Dog Boy?” The scout nods. “You show me where the soldiers are camped, and we return her. Then you two take her and ride south, to your Crow village.”
“I don’t have to go back? I don’t have to marry him?” She’s beginning to comprehend what’s being suggested. “What about us?”
“There is no us, Martha. You will be safe with these men. The Crow people will not harm you,” Two Crows answers with some compassion. “Once you’re safely in their village, you can sort out what you want to do with your life. And you two, my brothers, you can find wives and have Crow babies. Be Crow warriors. Like we have always talked about.”
Martha is reluctantly relieved and concludes, “Okay. I will go with them. I know there’s a better life for me away from that dreadful fort, and my mean mother. And you Two Crows, you can go have your terrible life with your terrible wife, I don’t care.”
Two Crows and Dog Boy waste no time, and are soon on a ridge looking down on the soldiers, fourteen asleep in their tents, and six huddled around the camp fire, engaged in cleaning their rifles, preparing for battle. Two Crows knows exactly what he has to do. He says goodbye to Dog Boy, and then rides back to the waiting embrace of White Feather.
After three hours in the arms of his beloved, he rises before the first light of morning. He first goes to Grandfather and tells him of his plan, and then wakes the war chief from a sound sleep. It isn’t long before fifty Blackfeet warriors gather around Two Crows.
“As you all know, when I left the white man’s fort, they shot me. It took all my strength to ride here, and not die along the way. I didn’t know I was being followed. Now I do. Tonight I saw where twenty blue coats are camped not far from here. They are planning to surprise us this morning, to kill our people. We cannot let this happen.” This is met with hoots and howls from all the men.
“Our war chief, Plenty Bones, has agreed to let me lead you in a surprise attack. We leave right now. Does anyone object?” Not one man says a word, and in their silence Two Crows speaks his truth. “The Crows took me from you when I was a child. You all know that I became a scout for these blue coats. I led them on attacks, like the one they are now planning. For this I am ashamed. These men want to murder all the Original People. If not for the warnings of my brother Crow scouts, they would have killed all of us as we rose with the sun. Today is the day I will atone for my sins against you, my brothers.” Hoots and war cries, enough to wake the whole village, ensue.
Within the hour, nineteen United States Calvary soldiers die at the hands of the Blackfeet. Two Crows himself scalps their leader, Lt. Winston Turner, and orders the one young soldier he saves, to take it to Martha’s mother, her daughter’s answer to the arranged marriage, and to warn them to never enter Blackfeet territory again.